Suspended mayor holed up in waterfront home
THE suspended mayor of Moreton Bay Regional Council has spent today holed up in his waterfront Newport home, after being sensationally arrested and charged by the Crime and Corruption Commission yesterday.
Cr Allan Sutherland on Wednesday charged with two misconduct offences and suspended from his position as mayor of Australia's third biggest local government.
Colleagues at Moreton Bay Regional Council were instructed not to communicate with Cr Sutherland, who spent the day refusing to talk to waiting media outside.
He was spotted emerging from his home to wash his car, before running inside after realising the presence of cameras, leaving a bucket and hose strewn on his driveway.
Other occupants of the home were seen scouting for any waiting journalists.
Following the dramatic events of last night, Cr Sutherland was automatically suspended from his position under the Local Government Act.
The CCC charged him with two counts of misconduct in relation to public office contrary to section 92A (1)(c) of the Queensland Criminal Code.
In a statement last night, Sutherland said he would vigorously fight the charges.
"I intend to defend these charges fully, and I am confident that my position will be vindicated when all of the evidence is available and considered," he said.
"What I can say though is that I have always acted honestly and in the best interests of the ratepayers of the Moreton Bay Region."
His deputy, Mike Charlton, has been appointed acting mayor until council elections in March, and today insisted council would function as normal.
"Following the suspension of Mayor Allan Sutherland, I have met with the Acting CEO to discuss Council's operations moving forward," Cr Charlton said.
"The Acting CEO has advised that no staff are to communicate with Cr Sutherland, or with any other person acting on his behalf, in connection with any matters of official Council business," he said.
"In relation to the charges against Cr Sutherland, it is inappropriate to provide comment as the matter is before the courts."
Cr Sutherland will face court again on February 5 next year.
He has been mayor of Moreton Bay Regional Council since its inception in 2008, having previously served as mayor of Redcliffe City Council before amalgamation.